I am someone who suffers from major Holiday burnout. Between all of the socializing, family chaos, and playing hostess with the mostess; It’s easy for forego self-care or maintain healthy boundaries in lieu of making sure everyone else is happy.
So, because I know I will need to reference this very post throughout the upcoming season, Here are a few things you can do to avoid being miserable for a week straight once the dust settles.
- Learn to say no. It doesn’t make you any less accommodating to tell someone that you aren’t capable of making an extra pie on top of the 8 that you are already committed to. I mean this both physically and metaphorically. What may be like a simple request from your aunt’s brother’s twice removed cousin; could be the very thing that takes you over the edge. You know you best. If your gut is telling you take a step back, listen to it and advocate for your mental health.
- Schedule time to recharge. When you sit down to lay out your plans, pencil in allotted breaks. That way, it’s time that you’ve already accounted for, not time that you feel like you’re losing. Walk away from whatever it is that you’re doing, and take 15 minutes to give your brain a rest. Read a chapter of your favorite book, drink a hot cup of coffee or tea, and disconnect from the madness. Tell your rowdy kids to throw on a movie, and let your hubs know if he comes in to tell you that the timer is going off one more time, you may have to end his life.
- Set ALL the boundaries. Be intentional about setting expectations. It’s easy to let things slide during the holidays; but this can lead to resentment and unnecessary stress. If you know that Aunt Susan always comes over on Christmas to give you unsolicited parenting advice; have a chat with her beforehand. I know, I know; these confrontations aren’t always so cut and dry; but just remember this: you have every right to hold people accountable in your home. The longer you wait to draw lines in the sand, the less joy you are allowing into what’s supposed to be an enjoyable time for everyone; including yourself.
- Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. There isn’t a rule in any book in the history of mankind that states your husband can’t be in the kitchen with you, or entertaining the family while you cook. Yes, sometimes things are easier when you can knock them out on your own (because let’s be honest, no one does it better than mom) but you have to be able to hand off some of the responsibility. Ask for help. I, myself, struggle with this. But do you realize how much easier life is when you’re not trying to control every moment of the day? Control freaks unite, amirite?!
- Prepare for imperfection. No holiday is fool proof. Go into it with an open heart. Don’t beat yourself up over things you have no control over. At the end of the day, even after you’ve asked Aunt Susan not to give you judgmental parenting advice, or politely reminded your hubs that he is a grown man who is fully capable of turning off a timer; you can only do so much. Try your best to extend grace and choose joy; especially when you have little desire to do so.
The holidays can be intense, there’s no doubt about that. I definitely struggle with feeling overwhelmed for two months straight. But the question is: why? I would much rather enjoy my family than feel flustered by their presence (to no fault of their own). A lot of that is my own outlook and attitude. Obviously it’s going to be hectic; so I need to be responsible for my own mental health in order to avoid the burnout that follows.
What are some tips & tricks that help you keep sane during the season?